Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged joe bageant

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Generally unable to read at a functional level, they are easily manipulated by corporate-political interests to vote against advances in health and education, and even more easily mustered in support of any proposed military conflict. … Low skilled, and with little understanding of the world beyond either what is presented to them by kitschy and simplistic television, movie, and other media entertainments…the future of the white underclass not only looks grim, but permanent…

The combination of our poorly educated workforce and ruthless demagogic oligarchy are not a nationwide problem: they are a national tragedy. It’s one that’s getting worse and is not likely ever to be fixed. The Empire is collapsing inward upon its working base. The oligarchs have skipped town with the national treasury; many have multiple homes in other countries. The inherent natural resources upon which America was initially built by laboring men and women have been squandered. … When empires die, they die broke.
Joe Bageant, discussing the ever-worsening situation of the American working class in Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir.

(Source: joebageant.com)

Filed under joe bageant working class

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AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?: Ignorance and Courage in the Age of Lady Gaga

Such a thriving American intellectual climate enables capitalist elites to withhold and ration vital resources like health care simply by auctioning it off to the richest. Americans fail to grasp this because the most important fact (that a helluva lot of folks can’t afford to bid, and therefore get to die early) never gets equal play with capitalist political propaganda, to wit, that if we give free medical attention to low income cleft palate babies, a wave of Leninism will seize the nation. That is cultural ignorance. We breathe the stuff every day of our lives.

But when Americans too poor to buy health care nevertheless vote to retain the corporate auction process, that is cultural stupidity…Primary truths elude us because of the junk affluence and propaganda. We get buried under a deluge of commodities that suggest we are all rich, or at least richer than most of the world. A mountain range of cheap shoes, cars, iPods, ridiculous amounts of available foodstuffs, and the entire spectacle of engorgement defines, and is enforced as, “quality of life” under materialistic commodities capitalism. The goods we have in our clutches trump the philosophical, or even the most practical considerations.

Neither populist, nor authentic movement, the Tea Party may yet prove historic, however, by seriously fucking things up more than they already are. Spun entirely from manufactured spectacle (and thus void of cohesive political philosophy or internal logic), the Tea Party lurches across the political landscape bellowing at the cameras and collecting the victims of cultural ignorance in sort of a medieval idiots crusade. But to the American public, seeing the Tea Party on television is proof enough of relevancy and significance. After all, stuff doesn’t get on TV unless it’s important. 

Progressives also fancy a revolution, one in which they participate through the Internet petitions, and media events such as the risk free Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity, where no one risked even missing an episode of Tremaine. Seeing people like themselves on television was proof fighting the good fight. The Stewart rally was nonetheless culturally historic; we will never see a larger public display of post modern irony congratulating itself. 

In the historical view, cultural ignorance is more than the absence of knowledge. It is also the result of long term cultural and political struggle. Since the industrial revolution, the struggle has been between capital and workers. Capital won in America and spread its successful tactics worldwide. Now we watch global capitalism wreck the world and attempt to stay ahead of that wreckage clutching its profits. A subservient world kneels before it, praying that planet destroying jobs will fall their way. Will unrestrained global capitalism, with all the power and momentum on its side and motivated purely by machinelike harvesting of profits, reduce the faceless masses in its path to slavery? Does a duck shit in a pond?

PREACH IT, BROTHER JOE! Go read this right fucking now. Seriously. Reblog and share.

Filed under Joe Bageant STFU America We're fucked Fuckery A spectacle of fuckery Tea Party Teabaggery Progressive Smug Rally to Restore Sanity Fear Capitalism

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The United States has always maintained a white underclass — citizens whose role in the greater scheme of things has been to cushion national economic shocks through the disposability of their labor, with occasional time off to serve as bullet magnets in defense of the Empire. Until the post-World War II era, the existence of such an underclass was widely acknowledged. During the U.S. Civil War, for instance, many northern abolitionists also called for the liberation of ‘four million miserable white southerners held in bondage by the wealthy planter class’. Planter elites, who often held several large plantations which, together, constituted much or most of a county’s economy, saw to it that poor whites got no schools, money, or political power. Poll taxes and literacy requirements kept white subsistence farmers and poor laborers from entering voting booths. Often accounting for up to 70 per cent of many deep-southern counties, they could not vote, and thus could never challenge the status quo. Today, almost nobody in the social sciences seems willing to touch the subject of America’s large white underclass; or, being firmly placed in the true middle class themselves, can even agree that such a thing exists. Apparently, you can’t smell the rabble from the putting green.

Joe Bageant (via azspot)

I love Joe Bageant. I read his book Deer Hunting With Jesus and it was amazing. I actually got to talk to him on the phone and he talks just like he writes - and I love him for it.

(via silas216)

Filed under Joe Bageant Working class hero underclass America